Foto del docente

Tvrtko Jakovina

Adjunct professor

Department of Political and Social Sciences


Syllabus 2023/2024


History of Conflicting Ideologies, Assassinations and World Movers

ACADEMIC YEAR: 2023/2024,

TEACHER: Tvrtko Jakovina, tenured professor;

Department of History, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia; []

MIREES, Univestiy of Bologna [].



PROGRAMME: South Eastern Europe (or the Balkans) for centuries was part different empires or imperial systems. It was a region where imperial systems were colliding, sometimes cooperating or co-existing and in long periods just tolerating each other. The population was complex, mixed, consisting of Turks and Albanians, Bulgarians and other South-Slavs, Romanians and many minorities: the Germans, Hungarians, Jews, Vlach’s, Roma... There were Orthodox Christians, Muslims and Catholics (some nations, like Albanians, still have all three). The first historical border, border between two civilizations, was the one which had divided the Roman Empire in 395 AD. It was followed by the split between the two Christian churches, the Orthodox and the Catholic in 1054 AD. For the Byzantium as well as for Charlemagne, the region was on the very edge of their medieval imperial domains. Later, parts of South Eastern Europe become border areas of the Ottoman, Habsburg and Venetian states and systems (the so-called Triplex Confiniuim; area of Krajina in modern Croatia).

Major change for the region was brought by the Balkan wars and the Great War of 1914-1918. The Ottoman Empire (later Turkey) in early 20th century was de facto pushed from the region. The Habsburg Monarchy was no more since November 1918. However, the old imperial systems, practices and traditions, did not evaporate. New realities, new kingdoms, were created or extended, but their politically were usually based in the old practices, sometimes as a pure negations (the Ottoman tradition was always and everywhere negative example, justification for present-day hardships), or very positive symbols of the glorious past (the Habsburgs in some parts of SEE).

Hitler’s Germany had a peculiar, but not fully developed idea, what to do with the Region. However, the Second World War, Holocaust, genocide and collaboration, has dramatically changed the region for good. The Communist “empire” was created after the Second World War, embracing most of SEE. What seemed to be on the path of remaining part of the monolithic Soviet Empire, it was already shaken in 1948 with the Tito-Stalin split, one of the most important events of the Cold War Era. Even more, in early 1950’ Tito’s Yugoslavia, still communist, but not part of the Soviet Lager, had signed a military alliance with two NATO members, Greece and Turkey. After that, the Albanian feud with Moscow and Tirana’s pro-China policy (La Cina é Vicina!) had created the most isolated, most rigid, European state which seized to be part of the Soviet Block. Romania had an independent foreign policy, although remaining Soviet vassal together with Bulgaria, the most loyal to Moscow. By the end of the Cold War, every Communist state in SEE was different, specific in many ways.

“Transition” after the end of the Cold War had resulted in, probably for the first time ever, the same (declarative) aim of all countries in the region - to join or to remain – part of the European Union. Still, 30 years since the end of the Cold War, big part of SEE is far from any form of European integration, but not so far from Turkey, Russia, and China.

The goal of this modul is to give an overview of 20th century history of SEE. The accent will be on the dramatic historical turning-points and last 40 years. The course should try to explain how big powers and big policies were tackling, influencing, the region, how new “imperial” players were introduced to the region, how and why, for example, the communist system was differently organized in 4 countries of the region.

Lecture 1:

Introduction. History of the Balkans as part of the world history. Is SEE more important than in other parts of the Europe? Is it Europe at all? How do we research history of SEE in 21st Century? Wars (Balkan Wars, The Great War, The Second World War, The Cold War, the Wars of Yugoslav Succession). Empires: the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires, USSR and USA, European Union and China. Minorities. Assassinations. Europe as a dream: expansion of EU to SEE: consolidation of EU?

Lecture 2:

SEE in early 20th century. Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908. Founding of Albania. The Balkan Wars. Bulgarian Empire.

Lecture 3:

The Great War and the end of Empires. New – old – states.

Lecture 4:

The Interwar period. Bulgaria in Crisis. Little Antante (Yugoslavia, Romania, Czechoslovakia), the Albanian question. The Rise of Germany.

Lecture 5:

The right-wing groups in Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece and Romania: then and now. Italian imperial plans. Agrarian parties. The World War Two and the new Empires. Nazis and Slavs. German/Italian fascist system in SEE. Quisling regimes.

Lecture 6:

Partisans in Albania, Greece and Yugoslavia. Soviets in SEE.

After the War, before the Cold War. Superpowers as new imperialists? Yugoslav-Bulgarian-Albanian-Greek alliance-to-be? The Truman Doctrine. Yugoslav 1948 and Tito's «no» to Stalin.

Lecture 7:

Socialist and liberal systems. SEE divided: the Nonaligned Yugoslavia, Stalinist Albania, semi-independent communist Romania, pro-Soviet Bulgaria, “democratic” Cyprus and Greece, Turkey. The Chinese and the Soviets in SEE. «Big ideas, small nations”: the non-alignment of Yugoslavia and integral independence of Albania. Détente in the Balkans. Decline of Communism.

Lecture 8:

The End of the Cold War. Death of Tito. Death of Yugoslavia.

Lecture 9:

Transition in the Balkans. Towards another – European – Empire? Is liberal capitalism collapsing in the Balkans? Where are we today? How to solve Bosnia-Herzegovina? Which way for Kosova?

Lecture 10:

The war in Ukraine and new European realities. Which road for Serbia? Where is Montenegro heading? Who will rule in Bulgaria? SEE in 2023: democracy, rule of law and demographic catastrophy. 


  1. BEREND, Ivan 1998. Central and Eastern Europe 1944-1993: Detour from the Periphery to the Periphery. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
  2. GLENNY, Misha 2001.The Balkans. Nationalism, War and the Great Powers 1804-1999. London: Penguin Books.
  3. LAMPE, John R. 2006. Balkans into Southeastern Europe. A Century of War and Transition. London: Palgrave Macmillan. (You can choose between Lampe or Glenny).
  4. MACMILLAN, Margaret 2002. Paris 1919. Six Months that Changer the World. New York: Random House. (Part III; chapters 9-12).
  5. MAZOVER, Mark 2002. The Balkans. A Short History. New York: The Modern Library.
  6. MAZOVER, Mark 2008. Hitler’s Empire. Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe. London: Penguin Books. (pages 327-368).


  1. Connelly, John, Nazis and Slavs: From racial Theory to Racist Practice. Central European History, vol. 32, no. 1, 1999. (1-33)
  2. Gibianski, Leonid, The 1948. Soviet-Yugoslav Condlict and the Formation of the “Socialist Camp” Model. Odd Arne Westad, Sven Holtsmark, Iver B. Neumann (ed), The Soviet Union in Eastern Europe, 1945-1989. St. Martin’s Press 1994.
  3. Jakovina, Tvrtko, Tito's Yugoslavia as the Pivotal State of the Non-Aligned; 391-406. In: Tito:viđenja i tumačenja, Beograd 2011, ur. Olga Manojlović Pintar, Institut za noviju istoriju Srbije i Arhiv Jugoslavije.
  4. Swain, Geoffrey, The Cominform: Tito’s International? The Historical Journal 35, 3 (1992), 641-663.
  5. Ristović, Milan, The birth of “Southeastern Europe” and the Death of “The Balkans”. Thetis, Mannheimer Beiträge zur Klassichen Archäologie und Geschicthe Griechenlands un Zyperns. Herausgegeben von Rinchard Stupperich und Heinz A. Richter, Band 2, Mannheim 1995.

Additional reading:

  1. CRAMPTON, R.J. 2002. The Balkans Since the Second World War. London: Longman.
  2. DIMITROV, Vesselin 2008. Stalin’s Cold war. Soviet Foreign policy, Democracy and Communism in Bulgaria, 1941-1948.
  3. IATRIDES, John. O. 1968. Balkan Triangle. Birth and Decline o fan Alliance Across Ideological Boundaries. The Hague: Mouton. (selected chapters).
  4. JUDT, Tony 2007. Postwar. A History of Europe since 1945. London: Pimlico. (selected chapters).
  5. KOLA, Paulin 2003. The Search for Greater Albania. London: Hurst. (selected chapters)
  6. MITROVIĆ, Andrej 2007. Serbia’s Great War 1914-1918. London: Hurst and Company.
  7. PAVLOWITCH, Stevan K. 2008. Hitler’s New Disorder. The Second World War in Yugoslavia. London: Hurst and Company.
  8. SERVICE, Robert 2007. Comrades. Communism: A World History. London: Pan Books. (selected chapters:20 and 21, 27 and 28, 32, 35 and 36).
  1. JAKOVINA, Tvrtko: The Tito-Stalin Split 70 Years After. Collection of Articles from International Conference. Tvrtko Jakovina and Martin Previšić (editors), University of Zagreb and University of Ljubljana, Zagreb - Ljubljana 2020.
  2. JAKOVINA, Tvrtko: Neither Love, Nor Hate. Nuclear Bomb and Tito's Yugoslavia. IN: Images of Rapture in Civilization between East and West: The Iconography of Auschwitz and Hiroshima in Eastern European Arts and Media, Eds: Urs Hefterich, Robert Jacobs, Bettina Kaibach, Karoline Thaidigsmann; Univeristätsverlag WINTER, Heidelberg, 2016, 351-367.
  3. JAKOVINA, Tvrtko: Yugoslavia on the International Scene. The Active Coexistence of Non-aligned Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia from a Historical Perspective, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, Belgrade 2017; 461-515.
  4. JAKOVINA, Tvrtko: The Evolution of Yugoslav Non-alignment: How Yugoslavia Abandoned its Opposition to Neutrality, 239-266. IN: Notion of Neutralities, Pascal Lottaz and Herbert R. Reginbogin (ed); Rowman and Littlefield 2018.

DIDACTIC METHOD: Lectures, discussions.

REQUIREMENTS FOR CREDIT: Attendance and class participation. Exam will be written, based on the lectures and readings. Questions will consist of several essay questions and ID questions (shorter, more succinct answers).

EXAMINATION METHOD: Written exam (essays) and class participation.

Class participation is always welcome; substantial, meaningful contributions have positive value in the assessment of students work.

DIDACTIC SUPPORT TOOLS: Power Point presentations, video-clips

TEACHING LANGUAGE: English. Knowledge of other languages is welcome.

OFFICE HOURS: Every day after lecture or On-line.

Published on: July 20 2023